May 6, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Smoke Free NZ amps up its campaign

2 min read

Quitline is stepping up its attack on nicotine addiction in its next step in the ambitious goal of having a smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

A new television, internet and billboard campaign to be launched on Tuesday will focus on becoming “the new you” by stubbing out.

The government-funded programme uses ex-smokers who have used Quitline’s services to inspire those still puffing away.

One of those fronting the campaign is Aucklander Maria Elisaia.

She has been smokefree for two years and says she is happy she no longer has to choose between buying cigarettes or buying food.

Many a time I stood at the counter and thought: with $20 do I buy food to put on the table or do I buy smokes?”

Quitline chief executive Paula Snowden says it is important to use ex-smokers in the campaign because they showed smokers how “to get control back and rid themselves of this addiction”.

Although many have quit using the nicotine replacements offered by Quitline, there has been some recent scepticism over how successful this method is in helping people stop.

A paper in the journal Tobacco Control by Hillel Alpert, of Harvard University, claimed smokers were just as likely to relapse if they used nicotine replacements or if they went cold turkey.

“Before these [drugs] were invented in the early 1980s, the American Cancer Society said more than 30 million people had quit in the 1960s and 70s,” Simon Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University, told the Weekend Herald in January.

“There will be hundreds of millions of people around the world in the 60s and 70s who quit unaided.”

But with over 60,000 calls to Quitline each year, it appears the service is still a popular method in becoming smokefree.

The facts:

  • – 650,000 or 21 per cent of New Zealand’s population smokes
  • – 5000 Kiwis die from smoking related illnesses each year
  • – 45 per cent of Maori smoke and 20 per cent of Caucasians.


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